ALOR GAJAH, Jan 29 (Bernama) -- The implementation of e-Visas to certain eligible countries and visa exemption for tourists from China can boost Malaysia's tourism market.
Tourism and Culture Deputy Minister, Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin, said these efforts can be seen to further boost the national economy as well as attract more tourists to the country.
"As we know, China is the largest contributor of tourist arrivals to Malaysia after Indonesia and Singapore.
"We are confident that the e-Visa and visa exemption can boost tourist arrivals especially Chinese tourists because in terms of geography we (Malaysia) are just four hours from China by plane," she said.
She was speaking to reporters after attending a walkabout session with Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron in Ayer Limau, here Friday.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak while announcing the recalibrated Budget 2016 yesterday said Chinese tourists do not need a visa to visit Malaysia from March 1 to Dec 31 this year, while the government will also facilitate the entry of foreign tourists by accelerating the implementation of e-Visas.
Mas Ermieyati said the arrival of Chinese tourists to Malaysia last year was about 1.2 million from January to September.
Meanwhile, Idris said Melaka would benefit from the visa waiver for Chinese tourists as it will increase Chinese tourist arrivals to Melaka, as Melaka has close relations with China, especially with Guangdong province.
"I also see the government's desire to attract eight million tourists from China to Malaysia becoming a reality because Melaka is a fantastic holiday destination for Chinese tourists," he said.
He was commenting on the statement by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi yesterday that Malaysia wants to attract eight million tourists from China every year for the next five years with spending capacity of RM22.1 billion, compared with 1.3 million tourists from China who visit Malaysia every year.